Note on the next one, the last piece has a square hole, and the last but one none. Note cicadas, a typical Hongshan icon
I believe the colour variation is due to adsorbed soil minerals, since it elutes with strong acid
The hole of the middle one is a hemicircle
And the left one is a hemicircle and two flat faces at right angles
Face lit up by reflection back from the flat inner surface. Magical!
Same distorted by outer carving
I was immediately struck by their beauty, craftsmanship and surface iconography - note for example the cow gods and zhulong. I soon came to realise that the holes down the centre were natural, not drilled. It is certainly possible that some of the large holes were reamed out, but always using existing natural holes as a guide, for example with a bamboo pull-through faced with impact diamonds. However you will note many of these pieces in which the holes are completely natural. Among the most interesting are two in which there are literally hundreds of small holes clustered together to look like a long straight cloud, and the carving has been done around them. Another has a tapering hole, and this is partially blocked by a piece that has fallen from the side under gravity while still molten. These could not possibly be modern or man-made glass: and remember they are pure SiO2 with a melting temperature over 1600 C.
Effect caused by outer carving and distortion
multiple small holes
Cow god, one side of face lit up by multiple fine holes
Same piece from behind, and another with similar cloud of holes
Above two pieces viewed from the end
Zhulong, illuminated by light reflected back from the cloud of tiny holes, icon confirming Hongshan lineage
Note here, in addition to the central 'cloud cluster' there are other lens-like bubbles running parallel
Smaller tubes are also informative and can sometimes still be found on Ebay and in antique markets in China. I shall post on them separately.
My hypothesis is that a deep pool of liquid or semi-solid glass on the ground after ejection was struck by lightning, maybe during a massive electrical storm, vaporizing tracts of silica to plasma along the line of electrical discharge to earth. This would be analogous to fulgurite where crude tubes of fused silica are formed when lightning hits sand; but in this case the glass was already preformed when struck. Then, as the glass cooled slowly over the months and years, the tubes of Silica vapour and the glass around it contracted, creating many natural lines of cleavage (as is seen with cooling basalt). Finally when cool the tubes could be gently and expertly prized apart starting on the outside and working progressively inwards, and then techniques of turning and carving the glass were improved till it was fine enough for the Priest-King.
Finally, a big question. Does the fact that these pieces are so obviously original, and yet seem to be totally denied by the supposed expert guardians of the past, speak of a Culture that lies uncomfortably with the present? Such that it seems best for officials to appeal to their own authority and ignore it out of existence? It speaks to me of a people with a currency in art and an ethos and belief system completely different from the late warrior cultures up to and including today’s (which seem designed at all levels to concentrate power into the hands of empathy-deficient people with strong psychopathic tendencies!)